Mollie Olivia Melvin Ward, age 96, died peacefully on Monday, April 6, 2020. She was born in Harrells, NC on August 4, 1923 to Raymond Herring and Mallie Olivia Garner Melvin. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Edward Ward, Jr., and three sisters, Sara Riley, Betty Gray Sanderson, and Lela Mae Harrell. She is survived by 7 beloved children: Lela Floyd and husband Frank of Cary, NC, Robert Edward Ward, III (Bobby) and wife Sue of Rose Hill, NC, Raymond Melvin Ward and wife Fran of Pink Hill, NC, Sylvia Bowman and husband Eddie of Surf City, NC, Merry Carol Ward of Raleigh, NC, Wade Ward and wife Cam of Rose Hill, NC, and Laura Ward and Paul Vernon of Cary, NC; 9 grandchildren: Frank Floyd, Jr., Dee Ward and wife Vickie, Amy Edge and husband Monty, Caroline Goffena and husband Derik, Su-Anne Estes and husband Jason, Leslie Lowe and husband Eric, Julie Jackson, Ashley Lee and husband Joo, and Megan Peterson and husband Mike; 22 great-grandchildren, and 6 great-great grandchildren.
Mollie was a graduate of Meredith College in Raleigh, NC with an AB degree in Home Economics. She taught at Halls High School from 1944-46. After marriage, she became a full-time homemaker while raising her seven children.
Mollie’s undergraduate degree, combined with a loving, devoted, and dedicated spirit, inspired a life of service to church, family, and community, and this was evident in all that she did inside and outside of her home. She was known for her country cooking and for the many people she served in her home over the years. Football and basketball teams, coaches, farm workers, preachers, church members, extended family members and many, many others all found themselves welcome for multi-course meals in her home. She held many leadership roles at Mt. Zion Presbyterian Church in Rose Hill, NC, at times serving as elder, deacon, circle chair, Women of the Church president, Sunday School teacher, and Sunday School administrator, and she was honored as a Lifetime Member of the Women of the Church. For 50 years, Mollie was a vital member of the Rockfish Extension Homemakers Club and served as president, secretary and program chair for many committees. Over the years, she also served in many other volunteer roles, including as a member and officer in the Rose Hill Woman’s Club and in organizations such as Meals on Wheels.
Mollie and Robert were also active in PTA organizations at all school levels and were active supporters of the schools, their sports, and all students taking part in them. They were advocates for school attendance, and together they worked tirelessly to increase average student daily attendance. Their efforts resulted in three additional teacher allocations to Rose Hill Elementary School. She and Robert were also leaders in the Beaver Dam Community 4-H club for many years, and their children were active members. They were recognized for leadership at the county, district, and state levels.
Mollie and Robert were lifelong farmers and gardeners. Mollie was also a skilled seamstress who taught many youth to sew over the years. She was gifted in the kitchen and a self-made businesswoman who became well-known in the community for her renown peanut brittle. She and her three sisters also collaborated on and published a cookbook with many of their favorite memories and recipes.
She was a joyful, humble and gracious lady who truly cared about people and their lives. She was a loving wife, a selfless mother and mother-in-law, a wise grandmother, an inspiring great- and greatgreat-grandmother, a faithful sister, and a considerate and thoughtful aunt, cousin, and friend. Until her last days, she kept up with extended family members and friends, always asking about others’ welfare and their many interests and life experiences. She always looked for the best in people and had a kind word to say. Mollie exuded love.
A small family graveside service will be held on Thursday, April 9, 2020 in Harrells, NC followed by a drive-up only service at Oak Plain Presbyterian Church in Rose Hill, NC. Honorary bearers will be Wayne Osborn Sanderson, Herbert Sanderson, Carl Riley, Jr., Billy Niles Harrell, Jr., Thomas Lee Dodson and William Ward Clayton. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Mt. Zion Presbyterian Church, PO Box 188, Rose Hill, NC 28458 or to a charity of the individual’s choice.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mollie Olivia Melvin Ward, please visit our floral store.